September 7th 2002

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: It was right for Australia to be in Vietnam

EDITORIAL: The family: an endangered species

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Self-destructing Democrats: the real winners

COMMENT: Trial by media: the attacks on Archbishop Pell

MIDDLE EAST: Why Bush is unlikely to attack Iraq

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Russian roulette / Thick skins and strong stomachs

FAMILY: Child predators: the untold story

STEM CELL DEBATE: MPs smell a rat over Trounson's stem cell claim

Telstra sale (letter)

An honourable man (letter)

ENVIRONMENT: How now, brown cloud?

POLITICS: Principles and pragmatism: the Democrats' demise

ASIA: Singapore: hard work the key to success

West Papua 40 years on

BOOKS: Cutting Edge Bioethics, edited by John Kilner

Books promotion page

Russian roulette / Thick skins and strong stomachs

by Max Teichmann

News Weekly, September 7, 2002
Russian roulette

The hacking and gouging going on inside and outside the Australian Democrat Cordiality Club are turning out to be like Mel Brooks' ideas on how to stage the last scenes from Hamlet and the Ice Queen. Poisoned pricks, people swallowing the drink meant for someone else, rubber daggers, tomato sauce all over the stage, and the ghost of someone looking remarkably like Don Chipp stumbling in and out, croaking, "Beware of damned spot. She makes a mess wherever she goes." Then, clanking back to his exercise bike in the sky. Plus a coven of witches expelled from Macbeth chanting from the wings, "Double, double, cauldron bubble, join the Greens and make more trouble!" Down in the prompter's box, the Labor manager's screaming, "Stop fighting you ingrates: you are our crutch."

But, alas, the Democrat voters, gorged on weak lemonade and stale hundreds-and-thousands sandwiches, are moving to the Greens. In search of vegetarian puffs ... and green tea.

Labor will just have to adapt. But they won't be acquiring another crutch: rather, a most constrictive giggle suit.

It's all rather like Bracks' people shifting the bats from Melbourne's Botanical Gardens to the river banks of yuppie Ivanhoe. Instead of killing the trees in the Botanic, they'll do the same at their new home, unless they adhere to the Bracks/Garbutt five-year-plan - codenamed Lysenko - and promise to live on air. And if, per improbable, the 20,000 botanical garden bats do vacate their habitat, another lot won't replace them, from, say, Queensland, where they're busy stitching up the orchards. Of course not.

But out in the real bush there are now 500,000 feral cats, compliments of the city. And how many feral dogs, often in packs? How many small native creatures, plus new lambs, would they have to kill each year to live? But they mustn't be culled. Nor the masses of emus bursting into Victoria - to eat the scarce food of the farmers' stock and that of the small creatures struggling to live on what little food there remains on our side of the Murray. And had the army not moved against some 80,000 kangaroos in their demesne around Puckapunyal, training would have become impossible. There would be Big Reds in the officers' mess. But we know how bloodthirsty the army is. Just read The Age.

Alas, the farmers, in particular, are being held to ransom by a sub-culture with belief systems drawn from the Middle Ages; with a helping from the Great Plague apocalypse imagery. In this thought system, although all life is precious, some forms are more precious than others.

1) People: Their lives, their jobs, present habitats, e.g., small towns, hamlets, farms, their local histories, are secondary to trees, especially old-growth and rainforest denizens; and to the native fauna. The people should go - perhaps retrained as fire fighters. They'll be needed.

2) Native fauna should in turn be sacrificed, if feral animals need a feed - on them - or emus want their food.

3) Our mystic trees and vegetation which talk to us, are less worthy than, say, fruit bats. So is our suburban flora, if the rising possum numbers want to fill up. I don't know how much longer it will be lawful to kill rats. Except, if they can be accused of spreading disease, then our pantheist true believer hypochondriacs will be queuing up for Ratsak (on the national health scheme naturally).

4) The pecking order of how valuable or not life is, finishes at the bottom with human embryos. And, in the ACT, human beings to be aborted, presumably up to 32 weeks. On demand.

So, if there is a consistent theme present - for we have seen each non-human species sacrificed in turn to serve the interests of another non-human form of life - it is a dislike of or indifference to human beings and their progeny. One green activist reminded us that humans are the AIDS of the universe.

And this is the foolish, morally bankrupt and desperate nonsense which has to fill in for the collapse of left ideology; the flight from religion; and the escape from Reason. It is being peddled through our schools and, of course, the public media, and is now a rising force in politics, which supposedly revolve around the common good, the national interest, and what most people want. An alarming new recipe for chaos ... and tyranny.

Wanted: thick skins and strong stomachs

Some years ago, a lady whom I had thought I knew well, brought up the name of George Pell, who had just become the Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne. I had not heard of the gentleman (and I still haven't met him), so I asked the usual fly on the wall questions. What was he like, etc., etc?

I was surprised at the sustained vehemence of the response. Although barely in office, he was already, apparently, a great threat, and, "we will deal with him". Further enquiries as to the details of his perfidies were tantalisingly incomplete. It appeared that he planned to help return the Church to a more traditional mode, on the lines of John Paul II.

Personally, I thought this might be a good idea, but understood why my friend and her "we", might not agree. Clearly they felt it was their stable, and no outsiders should come in to clean it up. Even though the intruders had been the previous occupants.

Not an unfamiliar situation in our various group transactions - and the anger is usually that of those whose present privileged positions are threatened. What's new? But I was surprised at what then followed.

"He's had one heart attack," she said. "We're going to give him another."

"That's not a very Christian sentiment," I said, quite seriously.

She looked at me with an expression like, "Grow up, stop playing around".

I started to feel fear and concern for this stranger. Did he know there was all this hatred seething in the various enclaves of religious pathology? Poor man.

Well, he knows now, if he didn't then. Makes the ALP, or the old Far Left, seem like nests of gentlefolk. Better him than me.


The orchestrated and stage-by-stage attacks on Pell, the Catholic Church as it is presently constituted, and indirectly, and twice removed, John Howard, are having consequences that remind me of The Split, and the calumny endured by Bob Santamaria.

In the case of The Split and the present hullabaloo, the intention seems to be to set Catholic against Catholic, with ex-Catholics brought in in a tide of revengeful bitterness. Like ex-communists were in the Cold War, to "tell it all" ... and, perhaps, pay back old scores.

In the process here, sectarian anti-Catholicism is creeping back - partly as a threat. Not a few Jews, especially older ones, have said to me: scratch a non-Jew and you'll find an anti-Semite. Paranoia? Hopefully: but not necessarily.

Such Jews say, everything changes but some things remain the same.

Not a few Catholics must already be feeling this about non-Catholic attitudes, and I know that in the past many did feel that they were regarded with suspicion or distaste because they were Catholics.

I think the unspoken threat is - "Unless you people disown or distance yourselves from your present leadership and church politics, we're going to make your lives a misery." And we are a powerful coalition - not simply dissident Catholics, revengeful lapsed Catholics, professional religious sectarians, but all the groups and vested interests being opposed or criticised by leading interpreters of church doctrine and social philosophy.

The timing of the current attacks on Dr Pell and the Church is interesting, coming as it did as the stem cell debate was ready to start; indeed, Mark Latham jumped in with another of his tasteful contributions to public discourse, attacking Mr Abbott's views by saying that his Church should get its affairs in order before etc., etc.

I see Latham was subsequently restored to the Labor front bench.

This style may in fact be the one which Labor and friends whom I have previously mentioned are going to rely on. A Party and a cause, in extremis. A malodorous prospect for us all.

Will the real students please speak up!

We had a Youth Week and a Youth Week Forum in Melbourne, involving a body called Here For Life (Melbourne Herald Sun, August 16, page 16). A survey of 2,000 Victorian secondary school students found 71 per cent agreed with mandatory detention of refugees, while more than half thought Australia took too many immigrants. Only 12 per cent said Australia did not take enough.

This corresponds with the views of the general population; and is completely at variance with the indoctrination being pushed in the schools. But this "education" appears to have developed a quality which the teacher unions, syllabus setters and many assessors certainly had not intended to appear: an ability on the part of their charges to think for themselves, and express these views when they feel safe.

They don't feel safe under the existing system of assessment, and their assessors.

So they tell their pedagogic interrogators whatever these heroic figures want to hear - indeed, insist on hearing.


Mainland Chinese students, former East European communist students, and, in the 1930s and early 40s, European students, understand all this. But such systems breed cynicism, and certainly in Australia, the growth of patronising, if not contemptuous attitudes towards teachers, I suspect, is the cause of much of the boredom and alienation of brighter students in our schools.

Here For Life executive officer, Andrew Kay, was surprised at the survey results, for at his forum, the students were "far more conciliatory" towards refugees. Incidentally, is "conciliatory" the appropriate term?

Anyway, the forum students were, "particularly concerned about the physical and emotional well-being of children in detention". Detention camps should be opened to the media, and more guest speakers invited to schools, on immigration, to create a greater level of awareness". Naturally.

Meantime, in the other world, the survey figures indicate that proselytising chalkies are wasting their time: all they get at the end are their super and, in some cases, damaged livers.

All you need to know about
the wider impact of transgenderism on society.
TRANSGENDER: one shade of grey, 353pp, $39.99

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